Firstly, a huge thank you to Arctis and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
Publication Date: 23/03/2021
Length: 519 pages
Genre: Fantasy | Mythology
CW: suicide, sexual assault, abelism, murder, graphic violence
“Imagine lacking something that everyone else has. Something that proves you belong to this world. Something so vital, that without it, you are nothing. A plague. A myth. A human.”GoodReads
Fifteen winters old, Hirka learns that she is an Odin’s child – a tailless rot from another world. Despised. Dreaded. And hunted. She no longer knows who she is, and someone wants to kill her to keep it a secret. But there are worse things than humans, and Hirka is not the only creature to have broken through the gates…
‘Odin’s Child’ is unique fantasy with Norse roots. An epic clash of xenophobia, blind faith and the right or will to lead.
The first in a trilogy, Odin’s Child is a thrilling modern fantasy epic.
I adore Norse mythology and anything related to it, so I was particularly intrigued by how mythology would influence this story – particularly because of how ‘the children of Odin’ are viewed as ‘the rot’, which isn’t something I’ve come across before.
The Child of Odin in question is thirteen-year-old, Hirka, who I loved. We first get to see her personality as a young girl as she desperately tries to save her friend – I loved how fierce she was and how she would always do her best to be, or at least appear to be, fearless. Even as Hirka grows into a young woman of 15, we still see these qualities develop depth within her character as well as see other sides of her too. She begins to acknowledge her fear and uncertainty but still tries to work beyond that, to prove herself no matter the court. Her internal monologues were fascinating and allowed you to see her subtly alternate between being a woman and a child. I also particularly enjoyed her quick and witty retorts – regardless of who she was speaking to. The relationship between time and her father was also incredibly touching and I thought it was great to open the novel from his perspective, very quickly demonstrating how much she meant to him.
Hirka is also incredibly close to Rime, the grandson of one of the most revered Council members, heir to her seat at the table… one which he rejected after completing The Rite. Rime was such a brilliant companion/contrast to Hirka. He is more quiet and contemplative and he is constantly fighting an internal battle as he struggles between what he has been taught his entire life, to the truth he is suddenly exposed to. I really enjoyed seeing how Rime and Hirka would view the same situation and how they would interchangeably be a source of strength for the other. They worked brilliantly together and alone as they are crafted expertly as individual characters.
It isn’t just the protagonists and the antagonist (who was so unsettling and creepy, I couldn’t help but be drawn in by him) but the minor characters as well. Each one of them has such a unique personality and are incredibly detailed which I really appreciated as it made the characters feel more believable and it also helped build the world around them too. There were clear differences in attitudes and mannerisms between people from different places which shows you how much careful consideration Pettersen has put into this world.
The balance between fantastical action and concepts with politics and religion was wonderfully done. There are so many large ideas and systems to get your head around but it isn’t daunting or difficult in the slightest. However, if you are struggling to keep up there is a very helpful glossary at the back of the book summarising the different concepts that you learn about during the novel. In addition to concepts, there are also helpful one-liner biographies to stop you from getting in a muddle with the major players too. Personally, I found that were were all clearly explored and explained in the novel itself, however I do really appreciate having that included – especially as this will be incredibly helpful as a refresher before getting stuck into the sequel which is due to be released Winter 2021.
Overall, this was a brilliant start to a trilogy that I am thrilled is being translated into English as Pettersen in an author who deserves to be read the world over! This is definitely a must read for any fantasy fan!